GUEST AUTHOR ARCHIVES
May 31, 2005
"Attention is a general problem for the brain, and maybe it has a general solution," according to a new study, published in a recent issue of Science, that addresses a central question that anyone who has tackled a "Where's Waldo?" book can appreciate. When looking for Waldo on the crowded page, does the brain scan the page spatially, like a mental spotlight moving across an otherwise dark page? Or does the brain take in the whole page at once and gradually zoom in on relevant features such as color and shape?"
Using the visual system as a model, Professor Robert Desimone, director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and colleagues report that neurons synchronize their signals to command attention, like a chorus rising above the din of noisy chatter in a crowded room. "We think that synchronizing signals could be a general way the brain focuses on what's important," says Desimone, who also holds an appointment through MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
"If timing is important for visual attention and this is the way the brain focuses," reflects Desimone, "that exploration might open up whole new domains for understanding and possibly treating attention disorders, which are common in mental illnesses, including ADHD and even schizophrenia."
This line of reasoning seems right on target to me. Now comes the hard part of translating this basic research in the better tools for mental illness.
NOTE: Italicized paragraphs directly from MIT press releases.
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May 28, 2005
The truth about my mother-in-law...
Gay Crawford - a fighter, and a winner
From the Saratoga News, By Dick Sparrer
Gay Crawford is a fighter.
She may not look like it; she may not even act like it. But don't be fooled by her friendly, helpful demeanor. She is a fighter, and she's as tough as they come.
For the past 31 years, she's waged a battle against the second-leading cause of death in the United States--cancer.
It started not long after she was diagnosed with breast cancer as a 30-year-old, and it's continued through another bout with lymphona that was diagnosed last year. While others may have withdrawn to lament their own misfortune, Gay Crawford simply worked harder to battle the disease on all fronts as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society.
So when her named was announced as the winner of the Patient Courage Award at the society's annual recognition and appreciation event on May 4 at Lou's Village in San Jose, the standing ovation she received was for more than beating cancer twice--it was for a lifetime of dedication in the fight against the dreaded disease.
Crawford was one of many volunteers and community members honored with awards at the recognition event, but her's was the most poignant presentation.
"As a two-time cancer survivor, Gay serves as an inspiration to all who know her for her grace, courage and unwavering dedication to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families," said the society's program that night.
But Dr. George Fisher, an oncologist at Stanford University Hospital, summed it up the best when he said, "No one saves more lives than Gay Crawford."
The crowd roared its approval, and for good reason. Crawford's most recent fight has been against colon cancer, and she's teamed with Dr. Richard Adrouny to lead the effort to eradicate the disease through their Colon Cancer Free Zone program.
During March, the American Cancer Society conducted Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and thanks to the efforts of Crawford and Adrouny it was a celebration this year.
"Every city in the county of Santa Clara is now part of the zone," said Crawford of the Colon Cancer Free Zone that started two years ago with its inception in Monte Sereno. "Now we have to work on how to measure it, and how do we keep it going."
"Other cities are picking up on the idea that it is preventable and we can get our hands around it," she said.
Crawford is a champion in the fight against colon cancer, and it's because of her tremendous volunteer spirit and dedication in that fight that she was among the May honorees...
Still, while other award recipients were no doubt deserving, it was Gay Crawford who the night's crowd wanted to honor for her 31-year mission to lead the fight against cancer.
But, then, Gay Crawford's not just a fighter, she's a winner.
I couldn't agree more. She's truly one of a kind!
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Check out Next Billion, an organization whose goal is to identify and discuss sustainable business models that address the needs of the world's poorest citizens.
posted by Zack Lynch |
May 27, 2005
"We need to translate basic science discoveries into biomarkers, diagnostic tests, and new treatments clinicians can use to improve the lives of patients with mental disorders," said NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D., (photo) this past week at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatry Association. In addition to Insel, the NIMH track featured other plenary lectures by Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, Michael Meaney, Ranja Krishnan,, Bruce McEwen, Robert Freedman, and Daniel Weinberger on genes, cognition and emotion.
Institute staff Wayne Fenton, Ellen Stover, Mayada Akil, and Catherine Roca, also underscored the priority that NIMH attaches to translational research at multiple levels, from clinically relevant basic science to clinical trials. For example, two symposia entitled "Neuroscience for the Clinician," chaired by Dr. Akil, familiarized practitioners with the latest advances in genetics and functional brain imaging, with potential relevance to clinical practice. Maybe they should also join the DSM-V working group.
"We view our research track at the APA meeting as an extraordinary opportunity to inform the psychiatric profession, and the larger mental health field, about NIMH's commitment to work toward a long-term goal of personalized care for every individual who lives with a mental disorder," added Insel.
With a $1.4B annual budget, the NIMH will need to leverage market forces to help accelerate translational efforts. In short, the NIMH needs neurotech.
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May 25, 2005
Two years ago I wrote a piece on how neurotechnology will redefine how mental disorders are diagnosed and categorized. "As information from biochips and brain imaging technology becomes available it will be possible to diagnose mental disorders from the bottom up." In support of my views, I recently joined the DSM-V Prelude Project to make sure that the latest neurodiagnostics research findings are well represented.
From the Project website: "Although the DSM-V revision process will not formally begin until 2006 or 2007 (see timeline), the American Psychiatric Association has created this web site in order to keep the public and professionals informed about the plans for DSM-V as well as the ongoing effort to enrich the research base in advance of starting formal work on DSM-V. In addition, this web site provides an opportunity for you to alert us to problems in the DSM-IV that you may have encountered and to provide your suggestions for DSM-V."
Here is the current projected timeline for the DSM-V:
1999-2005 Development of DSM-V Preplanning White Papers
2002 Publication of A Research Agenda for DSM-V (monograph containing six white papers)
2004-5 Publication of additional DSM-V Preplanning White Papers
2004-2007Review data from the 10 APA/NIH-sponsored conferences on "The Future of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Refining the Research Agenda"
2007 Appointment of DSM-V Workgroups
2011 Publication of DSM-V
For those who are interested in this very important subject, I highly recommend visiting the website and downloading the free book published by the American Psychiatric Association, A Research Agenda for DSM-V. It's a 280 page primer with interesting tidbits on the future of neuroimaging and the important role that neuroinformatics must play going forward.
NOTE: (from the website) These dates are tentative; although these events will not occur any earlier, they could occur later.
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May 24, 2005
Plexon in China - Neurodevices
posted by Zack Lynch |
Best Japanese Neuroscience Blog
posted by Zack Lynch |
To compliment the development of NeuroInsights' Neurotech Index we have also developed a neurotech market news feed that brings up-to-the minute market news on public neurotech companies. Here are a sampling of the latest neurotech news items at of 11:30 am EST for May 24th: (updated market news can be found by following the above link)
Eyetech Falls Despite Brazilian Approval (AP) May 24, 2005 06:21:33 am. Eyetech Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday that it received approval for its age-related macular degeneration treatment Macugen in Brazil, but its shares plummeted following positive data released on a competing Genentech Inc. treatment.
Genentech's Lucentis Could Eclipse Macugen (at Forbes.com) May 24, 2005 05:54:34 am
Prana Biotechnology to Present at the Needham & Company Fourth Annual Biotechnology Conference (PR Newswire) May 24, 2005 05:30:00 am
DOV Pharmaceutical, Inc. to Present at The Fourth Annual Needham Biotechnology Conference (PR Newswire) posted on May 24, 2005 05:00:00 am
New River Pharma upgraded by Wells Fargo Sec (Briefing.com) May 24, 2005 04:40:32 am
Amarin Corporation Plc Announces First Quarter 2005 Earnings Conference Call (PR Newswire) posted on May 24, 2005 04:35:00 am. Amarin Corporation lc today announced that it will be discussing its first quarter 2005 results in a conference call at 9.00 am on Thursday, May 26th, 2005. Rick Stewart, chief executive officer, and Alan Cooke, chief financial officer, can be heard by dialling +1--968-7995 in the U.S. or +1--679-8403 elsewhere.
Bio-logic Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2005 Results (Business Wire)
posted on May 24, 2005 04:00:00 am. Bio-logic Systems Corp., a designer and marketer of computerized medical electro-diagnostic equipment and disposables, today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended February 28, 2005.
RSS Feed provided by Yahoo Finance.
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May 20, 2005
About the Neurotech Index
To help investors gauge the overall welfare on the public markets of companies specializing in neurotechnology, NeuroInsights has introduced NeuroInsights' Neurotech Index in the recently released strategic investment and market analysis report on the neurotechnology industry.
In 2004, the Neurotech Index was up 27.1% compared to respective gains of 10.9% and 8.6% for the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite Index. The Neurotech Index also outpaced the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index, another life-sciences-oriented measure of the public markets, which grew by 5.1% in 2004.
The Index is an equally weighted index of 30 companies that have a significant percentage of their current and future profits tied to neurotechnology, including neuropharmaceuticals, neurodevices or neurodiagnostics. Large conglomerates, even those with significant neurotechnology products, are excluded from the Index. It will thereby offer insight into the way the public markets perceive the future promise of neurotechnology and its current state of development.
At the beginning of 2004, 26 companies qualified for inclusion in the Neurotech Index. New neurotech IPOs in the ensuing months have increased the number of index companies to 30. The index is based on a value of 100 as of December 31, 2003, and is calculated using an equal-dollar weighting methodology designed to ensure that each security is represented in an approximately equal dollar amount.
The index is rebalanced semiannually, on the last trading day in December and in June, at which time the number of companies included in the index may change based on changing conditions in the industry, such as initial public offerings and M&A activity. The number of whole shares of each component stock is then adjusted so that each company is again represented in equal dollar amounts and then adjusted by a divisor, if necessary, to ensure continuity of the index.
For more information about the companies covered in the NeuroInsights' Neurotech Index please visit www.neuroinsights.com.
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May 16, 2005
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Addressing health ministers from 192 countries at the World Health Assembly in Geneva today, Bill Gates declared, "The world is failing billions of people" and must act more aggressively to fight disease and reduce inequity. Putting his money where his mouth is, Gates pledged another $250 million towards accelerating cures for diseases that primarily impact developing economies.
Gates called for action by governments to increase efforts to improve global health, for more scientific research to develop solutions for diseases in developing countries, for more funding to deliver health tools and design new ones, and for market incentives so the private sector will invest in "the discovery and delivery of health tools for the developing world."
Since its creation in January 2000, the Gates Foundation has pledged nearly $8 billion in grants for global health, education and public libraries as well as community programs in the Pacific Northwest. The foundation, the world's largest, has nearly $29 billion in endowments. By law, U.S. foundations are required to give away at least 5 percent of their assets each year, which for the Gates Foundation totals $1.5 billion annually.
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May 11, 2005
I've spent the past two years writing this report. I hope you enjoy it.
NeuroInsights Reveals Brain Industry's Investment Opportunities, Risks and Competitive Landscape in New Industry-Defining Report
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 11, 2005--NeuroInsights, the neurotechnology market authority, today announced the release of the industry's first comprehensive investment- and business-focused analysis of the neurotechnology marketplace. Titled "The Neurotechnology Industry 2005: Strategic Investment and Market Analysis Report of the Global Neurological Disease and Psychiatric Illness Markets," the 250 page report is the first publication to provide a unified market-based framework to help investors, companies and governments easily quantify opportunities, determine risks and understand the dynamics of this rapidly changing market.
The report's findings include:
-- NeuroInsights' Neurotech Index(TM) -- an investment benchmark that measures the stock performance of 30 publicly traded neurotechnology companies -- grew by 27.1 percent in 2004, compared to respective gains of 10.9 percent and 8.6 percent for the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite Index.
-- Neurological disease and psychiatric illness represent the largest and fastest growing unmet medical market: over 1.5 billion people worldwide and 100 million individuals in North America alone;
-- The neurotechnology industry has three sectors: neuropharmaceuticals with revenues of $87 billion and 13 percent growth annually; neurodevices with revenues of $2.8 billion and 20 percent growth annually; and neurodiagnostics with revenues of $12 billion and 11 percent growth annually;
-- VC investment in neurotechnology companies climbed 225 percent from 1999 to 2004 -- representing nearly $6 billion. Today, one-in-four VC dollars invested in Life Sciences goes to neurotechnology companies;
"It's an opportune time for investors to be looking at this market," said Zack Lynch, managing director of NeuroInsights. "The industry framework detailed in this report helps answer critical investment questions, such as: Who is investing in neurotechnology and what types of startups are getting funded? How are public neurotech companies performing compared to other industries? In what markets are neurodevices competing with neuropharmaceuticals?"
Pricing and Availability
The Neurotechnology Industry 2005: A Strategic Investment and Market Analysis Report of the Global Neurological Disease and Psychiatric Illness Markets." is available immediately. The 250 page report includes profiles of more than 300 public and private neurotechnology companies, products in clinical trials, and competitive analysis by market segment for more than 13 disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, insomnia, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, addiction, stroke, schizophrenia, sensory disorders, Parkinson's disease and pain.
The cost of the report is $5,000 and can be ordered directly from NeuroInsightsor by calling 415-229-3225.
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Neurological Diseases and Psychiatric Illnesses Represent Fastest Growing Unmet Medical Market - 1.5 Billion People Worldwide
posted by Zack Lynch |
May 6, 2005
Here is a neuroethics update from Stanford's Bi-Weekly Neuroethics Newsletter, courtesy of Dr. Judy Illes. Please send your neuroethics news and events for posting to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Brain-Injured Fireman's Recovery Takes Science Into a Murky Area: Ten years after a firefighter was left brain-damaged and mostly mute during a 1995 roof collapse, he suddenly experienced a partial, yet dramatic recovery. Neurologists discuss.
2. Scientists read minds with brain scans: University College London researchers use recordings of brain activity to predict what people are seeing.
3. Brain scan sees hidden thoughts: Scientists say they can read a person's unconscious thoughts using a simple brain scan.
4. Curbing costs of medical scans: Laurence Baker, associate professor of health research and policy, is quoted in this San Francisco Chronicle article on the rising costs of medical imaging.
Events at Stanford University
1. Monday, May 9, 2005, Title: fMRI Colloquium, Speaker: Golijeh Golarai, Time: 4:15pm - refreshments at 4:00, Location: Clark Center Auditorium
2. Thursday, June 6, 2005, Neuroethics Theme Group Meeting (Spring 2005)
Title: Neuroscience and Moral Agency - A Compatibilist Account (or: "How I learned to love determinism and still respect myself in the morning"). Speaker: William Casebeer, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Philosophy, US Air Force Academy and National Security Affairs Department, Naval Postgraduate School, Time: 1:30-2:30pm, Location: Fairchild Building, D202, Open to all. Refreshments
1. Hard Science, Hard Choices: Ethical Questions & Public Policies For the Emergent Science of the Brain, May 10-11, 2005, Library of Congress and The Dana Foundation, Washington, DC
2. 7th Annual Updates on Dementia Conference: Translating Research in to Practice, May 16, 2005, Stanford University Medical Center, Fairchild Auditorium
3. VII Annual Symposium on Biomedicine, Ethics and Society: Imagining the Work of the Brain Neuroethics Imagining the Work of the Brain - Neuroethics June 13-14, 2005, SANDHAMN HOTELL & KONFEREN,
4. 11th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction Symposium: Exploring Ethics in Augmented Cognition Research, July 22-27, 2005, Las Vegas
Pickard JD and J Gillard. (5 May 2005) Guidelines reduce the risk of brain-scan shock. Nature 435:17.
Awards and Honors
Neuroethics Research Associate Scott Hartley was a finalist for the James Redford Award, an honor that is bestowed annually by the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness. His paper "Organ Donation - The Ethics of Policy Choice" addressed the law and ethics of organ donation policy in the United States. Congratulations Scott!
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May 1, 2005
Cita Neuropharmaceuticals Files Prospectus
posted by Zack Lynch |